Tag Archives: weight

Sweat is fat crying

If this is true, then my fat is in a deep depression.  Since February 15, I’ve lost about 40 pounds.  In a week, I’ll be running in a 5K.  In February, when I weighed 329 at the doctor’s office, I set the following goals to reach in June: weigh under 300, bench press over 300 and run a 5K in less than 40 minutes.  As of today, I weigh 288.  I stopped gaining as much strength when I started to really take off weight, so I don’t think I’ll get to bench 300.  I’ve changed the way I eat.  I’ve changed the way I workout.  I’ve changed my life, and it feels good.




Filed under Fitness

My Scale is No Longer a Dirty Liar

Workout.  Step on scale.  Curse.  Repeat.

This has been my pattern for the three years since I dubbed myself “The Fat Pastor.”  This whole blog started in October 2008 when I first stepped on a scale and had to push the little black sliding thingy all the way to the 300.  Since then I’ve done little more than slowly inch the little sliding thingy on the top over too.

Last week at the doctor I weighed in at 329 pounds.  It was an all-time high for me.  And the sad part is, this is in the midst of working out.  I’ve been working out fairly regularly again for about four months.  It has been so frustrating to get on a scale after a hard workout and think, “This scale is a dirty rotten liar.”  It turns out that when I’m working out, I don’t lose weight, I just slow the gain.  When I stop working out – even for a week – the weight starts to pile on.

I know that weight is not the only indicator of health.  My blood pressure remains a solid 120/80.  I also had blood work done, and am interested in what I’ll find about things like blood sugar and cholesterol (they have been high for as long as I’ve been testing them).  I know that it can be unhealthy to obsess over the number on the scale, but I also know that weight is AN indicator.  It is a number I cannot ignore.

There was a time when I could shed lbs easily – without changing anything but my activity level.  Go and play basketball a few times a week, lift some weights for a month or two, pound the treadmill for a few miles a week, and I would shed weight fairly quickly.  Those days are gone.  I’ve realized that I need to do more than adjust the output level.  I need to adjust the input level too – and that has been much harder to do.  I eat.  I love to eat.  I love to cook and eat.  I love to go out and eat.  I am a lifetime member of the Clean Plate Club, and if you’re not going to eat that, I’ll help you join too!

About 10 days ago I decided that it had to stop.  Inspired by my brother (who dropped a toddler about a year ago), and aided by my Nook, I downloaded Lose It!  This app is simple – it provides a quick and easy way to log calories.  Everything I’ve eaten in the last 10 days goes into the log.  Every time I exercise, that goes in too.  So far, it has been amazing.  I get a certain caloric budget everyday.  As long as I stay under that budget, I should drop a pound a week and get back to my college football weight in about a year.

It turns out that if I’m paying attention, it has been fairly easy to keep under my budget.  Six Girl Scout cookies after dinner were bad.  Two aren’t a big deal.  Two Egg McMuffins at McDonald’s aren’t that bad (600 calories), but now I leave out the hash browns.  A bowl of Cocoa-Roos, plus a refill and a half, at the end of the night isn’t a great snack.  A bowl of Frosted Mini-Wheats can usually fit easily under my budget.  I’m avoiding sweets and chips, and really enjoying apples and air-popped popcorn sprinkled with hot sauce.  Will it last? I don’t know, but a little positive reinforcement goes a long way, and my scale has stopped lying to me.

The results so far have been astounding.  Remember the pattern I described at the top?  Today, it went like this:  Workout, step on scale, (see 317) shout “YES!” and pump fist in front of four other guys in locker room.  I pray that this cycle “ends” with repeat too.


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Today I had another “D’oh!” moment.  You know – those moments when something becomes to obviously clear that you know you should have seen it before.  How many times have I told people to spend time daily in prayer?  How many times have I preached about the power of daily devotion?

And how many times I have begun the discipline, but then allowed myself to slip?  How many times have I picked up a Bible, with full intention to just read, but then allow myself to be distracted by a game of Zuma Blitz or some article on espn.com?

Today I created a new page.  I called it #Fat2Fit and in it I described another effort to rededicate myself to healthier living.  I created a list of things I want to do to be more healthy.  Guess what I left off?  Daily Bible study and prayer.

A few minutes ago I got back to the office from a lunch with some guys from church.  I sat at my desk, and pulled out the Upper Room from my top desk drawer.  I read the scripture it suggested – the story of Daniel in the lion’s den, and read the little devotion about daily prayer.  I thought to myself, “Well, this is an appropriate topic for me to read today, when I’m trying to clean up my life.”

I spent a few minutes in prayer and asked God to help me in my journey from Fat to Fit.  I felt a surge of Holy Spirit power come over me.  I breathed in, and felt good deep inside my heart.  It was a little moment of worship at my desk that gave me so much peace.  Then I looked at the “Thought of the Day” part of the devotion.  1 Timothy 4:7 reads “Train yourself in godliness.”


Isn’t that what I’ve been talking about?  Isn’t this exactly what I need to hear at this exact moment?  After slapping myself on the forehead I literally laughed out loud.  I’m an idiot – an imperfect, fat, slow-witted, good hearted, trying to be better idiot.  I’m training.  Thank heavens God loves me anyway.  Thank God I’m not training alone.


Filed under Personal Reflection

Why the Fat Pastor?

Someone posed this question to me – “Why do you call yourself the Fat Pastor?”  Well, I have a few reasons.

First of all, because I am a pastor.  A lot of what I do on this blog is write about God and the Church.  I offer my thoughts, or what I have called “my nebulous theology.”  As a pastor, I am interested in sharing God’s message of love, redemption and grace.  I think there is a lot of noise out there that contributes to a lot of confused people.  I try to offer my view of God because, in my boldness, I think it might be helpful.

Since starting this blog, I have been given much encouragement from people that have received gifts from my words to know that I indeed have something to offer.  I’ve had about 40,000 views, and get about 50-100 a day.  This is not a huge site, but some people tell me they like it.  So right away, in the title of my blog, people know that I am coming from a pastoral perspective.  I am, and always will be,  a pastor.

I am many other things too, and I write about the many things I enjoy.  But one thing I am is overweight.  It’s a fact that I cannot ignore.  Every time I try to put on a tie, every time I tie my shoes, every time I get out of breath after light exertion, I am reminded of this fact.  I am 6′ 2″, and at my last weigh-in, I’m 320 pounds.  That’s grossly overweight.  I named this blog in 2008 when I was shocked to find out my weight had topped 300 pounds, and it has generally gone the wrong way ever since.  I’ve always been big.  I was never the “fat kid” growing up, but I don’t think anyone has ever described me as skinny.  I’m athletic, and actually healthy in a lot of ways, but my belly is certainly bigger than it should be.

I call myself the Fat Pastor on this blog first and foremost because its true.  But I also use the word “Fat” to try and breathe a little brevity into what I am doing.  I have always had a self-depricating sense of humor.  People tend to think of pastors in one of two ways.  Some have an automatic sense of distrust.  This is something that we, as pastors, have earned well.  There are far too many of us that abuse our authority, and misuse the trust we are given.  There are also people that tend to think of pastors as almost otherworldly.  By calling myself the Fat Pastor, I am attempting to diffuse either extreme.

I’m just a regular guy.  I have struggles.  I sin.  I have a sense of humor.  I like sports – perhaps too much.  I like eating – definately way too much.  I like beer and wine and scotch, but not in excess.  I like some vulgar music and raunchy comedies and dirty jokes.  I am not perfect.  I’m fat.  I don’t want to be, but I am.  I don’t work out nearly as much as I should, and I eat way more than I ought.  It doesn’t make me a bad person.  Does it make me a hypocrite?  Some would say so.  But I am who I am.  I want to be better, and I’m striving to live well and do good in the world.

I am gifted.  I have failures.  I am a sinner.  I am a saint.  It’s who I am.  And I would bet it is who you are too.

I am the Fat Pastor.  This is my blog.  I hope you like it.  If you do, share it with others.  If you don’t, I’ll love you anyway.

For an update on how I’m trying to change, check out the #Fat2Fit page.


Filed under Blogging, Fitness


I had a great workout this morning.  I bench pressed 285 pounds.  For most people, that would not be a significant milestone.  For me, it was huge.

The last time I bench pressed 285 pounds I was 17 years old.  This morning I was so nervous when I put that much weight on the bar.  I felt confident, because I knew I had done 275 last week pretty easily and I had two good workouts since then.  Yet after putting on that much weight I was unsure.  I paced back and forth staring at the bar.  I remember the last time I did that much.

I was a senior in high school.  I wanted to be the starting center on our football team. I wanted to get a good score on the ACT so I could apply for scholarships.  I wanted a certain girl to think of me as more than “just a friend.”  I wanted to join the 300-club.  I wanted my name written on the board of the weight room in that most exclusive club, but I had to get to 285 first.  I lifted 285 that day, but never more.  The football season ended.  I got a pretty good score on the ACT and won a pretty nice scholarship.  That girl and I were never more than friends.  I never joined the 300 club.

I’ve always said that I feel sorry for people that think that high school was the best time of their life.  I had a great time in high school.  I had great friends.  I had good grades.  I had the respect of teachers and my parents.  I achieved a lot, but that was not the peak of my life.  I have gone on and achieved more.  Yet 285 has always stuck in my head.  That was the highest I reached physically.  That was the strongest I ever was in my entire life.  At 17 I was no where near my emotional, mental, or spiritual peak.  But by at least one standard of measure, I peaked at 17 years old.

Today I am 32 years old.  I am still grossly overweight, but I have been determined to make sure that I would again be stronger than I was when I was 17.

Today in that gym as I paced back and forth, I was standing in front of more than 285 pounds of iron.  I was standing in front of my past.  I was standing in front of my youth.  As my heart started to race and my adrenaline started to flow I knew that I was standing in front of something heavier than 285 pounds.  I was standing in front of my future.  I was standing in front of a promise.  It was a promise I made to myself.  More importantly, it was a promise I made to my daughter.  “17 was not my best,” I thought to myself.

I laid on my back on that bench press and gripped the bar.  I asked my spotter for a lift and counted to three.  As I held the bar in my hands with my arms extended, about to bring it down to my chest, I thought to myself, “I have this.”

And I did.

As I put the weight back on the rack, I practically leaped off of the bench. I clapped my hands, flexed my arms and let out a little “YEAH.”

I still have a long way to go.  As far as overall fitness, 17 might have been my peak.  Or maybe it was 14 when I ran two miles under 15 minutes before basketball practice.  Or maybe it was 20 when I was a captain of my college lacrosse team.  Or maybe it was 28 when I ran a 5 mile race in St. Louis.  The fact remains, I weigh 316 pounds.  I have a lot of work to do.  I need to do a lot more cardio.  I need to work a lot more on my legs.  I need to make sure I get three workouts a week – not just two.  I need to stop eating crap before I go to bed.

Right now though, none of that matters.  All I care about right now is 285.  It was a barrier that lived for 15 years.  Today it is no more.



Filed under Fitness

For her

Today at the gym my 2 1/2 year-old daughter gave me a reminder, as if the top view of my belly wasn’t enough, of why I was there.  She came with me and my wife today, and she sat in a desingated corner of the room for children.  She watched PBS kids and read books and played with some toys while we worked out.  We can usually see her, but she is really good at staying in her area.

At the end of the workout I was doing sit-ups on the incline bench.  I could see her off in her area watching “Super Why.”  Usually during my sit-ups I pull out my phone and do them while holding a picture of her smiling at me.  Then when I count them off, instead of numbers I use the letters in her name.  Since my return to working out, the most I’ve done in one set was 30.

This time, as I was getting to 30, I started struggling.  When I got to 28, I was thinking, “almost to 30, then I’ll stop.”  Then I heard my daughter’s voice calling out “One, two, three” in time with my sit-ups.  She was counting them for me.  I’ve never cried and done sit-ups at the same time, but I was close this afternoon.  I got to 40.  When I was done, she shouted in glee, “Daddy!”  I walked over to her, bent down to give her a kiss, and she reached up to oblige.

Then at the last second she pulled away, crinkled her nose and said, “You’re all wet.”  I was.  For her.

Weigh-in: 316 (up four pounds in two days – that sucks)
Treadmill: .75 mile (.25 walking, .25 jogging, another .25 jogging after lifting)
Rowing machine: 1 km in 5 minutes
Bench: 135 3 sets of 10, 185 4x
Incline situps: 40 (1 set of40, afterwards my whole abdominen cramped)
Other: curls, triceps, back

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This is my second blog title inspired by a number.  The first was the complete shock and awe I was hit with when I saw the big part of the scale get pushed all the way over to the right during a recent doctor visit.  This one however, is good news.

If any readers are frequent weight lifters, you might recognize the number 225 as a significant milestone.  Let me explain: when doing the bench press, which is the most basic of all upper body lifts, and the general gauge for strength, the bar weighs forty five pounds (aActually, it weighs forty five pounds regardless of what you are doing).  Free weights come in the following sizes: 2.5, 5, 10, 25, 35 and 45 pounds.  When you put one big one on each end, you have 135 pounds.  When you put on two of the big ones on each end, you have 225 pounds.  This is a real-man’s weight.  This is the weight when you are first taken seriously.  “Two plates,” is the standard test for most football players testing their strength.  A top draft pick going into the NFL can do 30 or so in one set.

When I began my lifting a couple of weeks ago I put 135 on the bar and was unable to do 3 sets of 10.  On Monday I was able to do three sets of 10 with relative ease.  On Wednesday I did a standard pyramid, adding 10 pounds and deducting 2 reps each set, and finished with 2 reps of 185.  So today I decided to test my metal, and do a good ol’ max.  So I decided to go with two of the big ones on each side – Two plates – my first try in over three years at a real-man’s weight: 225.

I stood there looking at the weight, remembering a time when that was not a daunting task.  It was mocking me, daring me to lift it.  Telling me I was too old, too fat, and much, much too weak.  With Metallica playing in my headphones, I started to get that old feeling – that feeling I loved so much when I played football – that heart-racing sense of fear and excitement, knowing that the moment of truth was an instant away.  I was confident.  I knew I was going to win, but I got a spotter anyway because I’m not stupid.  I sat down on the bench, looked up at the bar mocking me one more time and said, “Fuck you,” and lifted it not once, but twice.

For the last couple of days I have done something completely new during my workout.  Instead of counting my reps off to ten, I spell a word.  With each rep, instead of exhaling “one, two, three…” I breath the letters of my daugter’s name.  It is a constant reminder of why I am there.  It motivates me to know that I am struggling for her.  I get done with a set, and picture her at a high school graduation, in a wedding dress, holding her own daughter.  Tired, out of breath, unable to lift my arms, I smile and push back a tear.

Today I realized that I what I am doing is working.  I haven’t gotten on a scale in awhile because I’m not really interested in my weight.  I am interested in being around to see my daughter grow up, and maybe get lucky enough to know her children too.

I gotta go, she just woke up from her nap.


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Whoops, wrong way.

So I was all gung-ho about exercising and getting more healthy.  I am not trying to focus on losing weight, but that would be a nice.  I’d also like to lost an inch or two from the waist, so I could wear all those pants in my closet again.

Things have not gone real well thus far.  On my third day of working out I was jumping rope when I stopped I had a huge head-rush.  It was awful.  My head felt like it popped.  I was dizzy and I thought I was going to throw up.  I considered calling 911 because I thought I had a stroke.  But I drank a bunch of water, put my head down and was able to get back at it, and actually felt pretty good.

Then I went on vacation for a week.  When I returned to the gym a couple of days ago I got back on the scale. You can foget about 301.  Try 305! 

Since my original rant I have now worked out four times, but this will be my first full week.  Those were just warm-ups.  And I can feel a little difference.  When I bench pressed the other day I did three full sets of 135 pounds for the first time, so I am making progress.  My brother-in-law got me a muscle magazine for some extra inspiration. 

No excuses this week.  Up at 8 every morning (but Tuesday).  Work our for an hour, back home to start my day by 10.  I can do this, right?

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Three Oh One

That was the final motivation of why I am doing this.  Three Oh One.  As in 301.  As in 301 pounds.  As in, I went to the doctor yesterday, stepped on the scale, and the nurse had to push the big weight on the bottom all the way to the right, then nudge the little one on top over a bit.  Three hundred one pounds.  I’ve been pudgy my whole life except for about six months when I was 12 and grew about five inches.  My playing weight in high school was 235.  In college I was about 250.  But back then I was strong, not Swedish power-lifter strong, but pick up and carry a big TV or small fridge with no problem strong. 

Now though, I get winded when I climb my stairs, and my back gets sore after minimal strain.  Granted, I’m 31 years old, but that’s hardly old.  If I were an NBA player or an NFL quarterback I’d still be considered in my prime.

So yesterday I got up on the scale, with my belly making my pants to tight, and my neck making it impossible to button my shirt to put on a tie, and it screams at me THREE OH ONE.  I need to do something.  And this blog is going to be a part of it.  I feel as if keeping track of what I’m doing here gives me some added accountability.  I have no idea how many people are going to read this, but even if it is only Sarah (my wonderful and beautiful wife who loves me even though I look like I’m due in December), I know that keeping track of things here will give me added incentive. 

I’ve come up with a three step plan to become “Healthy Pastor.” 

  1. Stop eating bowls of cereal at 10 p.m. 
  2. Go to the gym everyday at 8 a.m. and work out.
  3. Keep track of it all here.

To that end, yesterday I worked out for the first time in years.  I walked/jogged .2 miles, and my heart rate was at 130 in a moment and my ankles screamed with pain.  I jumped rope in four sets of 50 and after each set I thought I was going to die.  I bench pressed 135 pounds (an amount I used to be able to do almost indefinately) in three sets: 10, 8, 6.  I also curled 25 pounds in three sets: 10, 10, 5.  I did tricep extensions of 70 pounds: 10, 10, 10.  And I did Lat pulls, 100 pounds: 10, 10, 8.  Only three years ago this workout would have been no trouble.  Yesterday I could barely lift my arms.

Today I went back to the gym and I walked/jogged .25 miles, did a a few sets of jumping rope, including one set of 100.  Then I leg pressed 200: 10, 10, 10.  Leg extensions of 100, 110, 110: 10, 10, 15.  Leg curls 60, 70, 80: 10, 10, 15. 

At the end of my workout I weighed 298.


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